Next Wednesday sees the Blogs & Social Media Forum, organised by VNU, at the London Hilton Metropole in Edgware Road. (eeek! scarily it’s the same date and location as this) I’ve been on the advisory panel for the forum and am running one of the sessions. I’m also really pleased that VNU have commissioned us to podcast the conference and to do some pre-conference interviews – more of this below….
While accepting that people come for clear information and practical examples of how this technology is actually working, we are also pushing the networking element of the day and trying to get away from the chalk and talk, death by powerpoint approach. The trouble is, that although many have tried, no-one seems to have found a format that works for everyone, so again, I don’t think we’ve cracked it yet, but we’re trying out some new ideas to see how they work. For example, in the middle of the day Johnnie Moore and I will be running an Open Space session to give people the chance to mix up and talk to the speakers on a more egalitarian level.
Naturally, there’s a conference blog and wiki. We’ve tried to soften up the format a little – so comfy armchairs for the panel, rather than a tressle table for them to hide behind, pictures and video from the day (and more informal stuff about speakers) projected in the breaks and hopefully some funky sounds – perhaps some podsafe music and other podcast samples. Participants will be sitting cafe-style but hopefully we’ll manage to make it a bit more Starbucks than Politburo Canteen (I suggested beanbags at the last on-site meeting we had, but I’m not sure whether that one will be taken up!).
The first pre-conference podcast is over on the conference blog. I went and had a chat with Lee Bryant of Headshift. What I love about their work is the way that they’re bringing the tools together in packages that make sense to users – which Lee touches on in our short conversation.